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TN Attorney General Breaks with TX on Immigration Lawsuit

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Ohio AG Mike DeWine Should Follow Suit

Cleveland, OH – The Attorney General of Tennessee, Herbert Slatery III, just announced that he will not join Texas in attacking the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the courts.

Ohio, like Tennessee, is a plaintiff in a lawsuit attacking a now-defunct Obama policy that would have made it possible for undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens to apply for work permits.  The policy never went into effect due to a court injunction and was repealed by President Trump.  Now, Texas wants to amend the original legal complaint to include DACA, a highly successful program for young people who came to the US as children.  Despite initially agreeing with Texas on the matter, Tennessee is now taking the moral high ground and refusing to be part of this massive attack on young people who grew up in the United States.

Ohio’s Attorney General, Mike DeWine, has so far been silent on the latest Texas strategy.  As Lynn Tramonte, Director of Ohio’s Voice, wrote in an op-ed for Cleveland.com:

There was a time when DeWine stood up for young people with a dream and no papers. He helped Manny Bartsch remain in Ohio instead of being deported to a country he did not know, as a scared and orphaned teenager. DeWine filed a private immigration bill in Congress on Manny’s behalf, and advocated for his release.  Manny now has an American wife and an American son, whom he is able to support because of DACA.

DeWine also helped Jose Mendez and other DACA recipients obtain one of the most important documents needed to live in Ohio – a driver’s license – back when some at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles tried to treat DACA recipients differently from other individuals with “deferred action.”

DeWine issued guidance clarifying Ohio law, and now Jose drives every night to his job as a security guard, protecting Americans.

DeWine’s support for Texas’ DAPA lawsuit is now being used to attack DACA. Is the attorney general OK with that?

Reacting to today’s developments, Tramonte said:

The President’s press secretary said he will make an announcement about the future of DACA on Tuesday, September 5.  Before then, Ohioans deserve to know if Attorney General DeWine stands on the side of A.G. Paxton or Ohioans with DACA.

As Attorney General Slatery wrote in his letter to U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker today:

There is a human element to this, however, that is not lost on me and should not be ignored. Many of the DACA recipients, some of whose records I reviewed, have outstanding accomplishments and laudable ambitions, which if achieved, will be of great benefit and service to our country. They have an appreciation for the opportunities afforded them by our country. As of the sending of this letter, the Administration has not agreed to rescind the June 15, 2012 DACA memorandum and order as requested by the coalition of States. At this time, our Office has decided not to challenge DACA in the litigation, because we believe there is a better approach that we outline below.

Tramonte continued:

Attorney General DeWine played an important role in moving the DAPA lawsuit forward, which harmed so many lives.  He has a new chance to do the right thing, and I urge him to consider the human and moral consequences of rescinding DACA and make his position on Texas’ litigation strategy clear.

I also have to say that, as an American, I find it unconscionable that Texas would continue to prioritize playing politics while their state is going through such a terrible crisis.  America is at its best when we pull together and support each other, as we’ve seen from many assisting the Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.  America is at its worst when we participate in the politics of division, which is exactly what the Texas Attorney General is doing on immigration.


  • Fact sheet: impact of DACA on Ohio
  • Memo: economics and politics of DACA in Ohio
  • Op-ed from Lynn Tramonte on cleveland.com: “Will Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine continue to stand up for young people with a dream and no papers?”
  • Letter from TN AG to U.S. senators
  • Blog post: “Ohio Immigrants, Advocates, Meet With AG DeWine and Gov. Kasich on DAPA Lawsuit”